Electrifly-In, Grenchen 2020

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Grenchen, Switzerland’s airfield hosted the fourth electric fly-in on that site over the weekend of September 11 and 12.  No fewer than 16 different electric craft flew in or were on hand to greet the lucky visitors.  Even celebrities were there, including Solar Impulse pilot Bertrand Piccard and Olympic champion, astrophysicist and pilot Dominique Gisin. The Grenchner Tagblatt (daily news) was on hand to report on the proceedings, and seems to have come away impressed with the turnout and the technology.  The paper reported this sidelight on the recent record-setting trip from Switzerland to the North Sea of Germany in a Pipistrel Velis (also on display on the field). “Lush parties were celebrated almost everywhere, all under the sign of …

SolarStratos Announces First Solar Free Fall

Dean Sigler Announcements, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

If you happen to be in Payerne, Switzerland tomorrow morning around 7:00 a. m. Tuesday morning, August 25, you might want to visit the local airport.  There, the SolarStratos team will stage a demonstration flight with a free fall parachute jump by the project’s founder. Miquel Iturmendi will pilot Raphael Domjan to an unspecified height, from which Domjan will depart the aircraft and free fall, open his parachute, and join the gathered throng.  Iturmendi will presumably return the airplane shortly thereafter. We’re not sure whether this flight will be available for Cockpit Virtuel viewing, but future expeditions should have that feature, much like the Perlan Project’s world altitude record ventures.   Iturmendi was co-pilot on one run to 65,000 feet. This …

Solar Impulse Foundation Seeks 1,000 Solutions

Dean Sigler Announcements, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Andre’ Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard, founders and pilots of Solar Impulse, have founded an important outgrowth of their globe-spanning mission – The World Alliance for Efficient Solutions.  With almost 500 members and seeking 1,000 with responsible and profitable solutions the two are working to gain investors in literally saving the world. Bertrand Piccard sees a current vision of a world that’s out of phase with technological reality.  In an editorial, he mused: “When I was flying with my solar plane over the Atlantic Ocean, I remember looking at the sun that was giving energy to my four electric motors and their huge propellers. There was no noise, no pollution, no fuel… and I could fly forever. At one moment I …

SolarStratos Makes First Flight

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

SolarStratos, a feather-light 450 kilogram (990 pound), solar-powered airplane, lifted off for the first time on May 5 in Payerne, Switzerland.  Considering its 24.9 meter (81.69 feet) wingspan, the airplane shows designer Calin Gologan’s ability to squeeze performance from every gram of structure.  It flies nicely, too, with test pilot Damian Hischier enthusing, “The plane is very nice to [fly].  [Its] reactions are healthy, and we see that it was well designed.” Sharing Payerne Airport with Solar Impulse, SolarStratos represents a different kind of adventure, ready to make five-hour flights to 75,000 feet (two hours up, five hours down).  Such flights can carry a pilot and scientific measuring equipment, or for those lucky enough to have the price of admission, …

Solar Impulse Pilot Andre’ Borschberg to Speak at SAS 2017

Dean Sigler SAS, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

One of two pilots who guided Solar Impulse around the world will speak at the 2017 Sustainable Aviation Symposium.  Andre’ Borschberg, having accomplished along with Bertrand Piccard an extraordinary voyage, uses his reputation and celebrity to educate the world that the “Future is Clean,” a watchword for the team’s ongoing efforts. Last November, for instance, Bertrand Piccard “launched the World Alliance for Clean Technologies under the umbrella of the Solar Impulse Foundation – a second phase in the realization of his vision that clean technologies can accomplish impossible goals and solve many of the challenges facing our society today.” In the meantime, Andre’ uses his engineering talents and perspective to bringing about practical outcomes derived from his and Bertrand’s experiences.  Because …

Solar Impulse Makes a Final Landing

Dean Sigler Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Bertrand Piccard closed out the over-year-long endurance test of man and machine, landing in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, where the 17-leg journey began over a year ago. Landing at night in the glow of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center, the largest mosque in the UAE, and greeted by fellow pilot Andre’ Borschberg, the project’s sponsor HSH Prince Albert of Monaco, and a large throng in western and Middle Eastern garb, the flight climaxed not only an aerial adventure, but an opportunity to share multiple cultures and teach thousands of children and youth about alternative energy and the way to a green future for all. Whether the promises made at the United Nations and at COP21 in Paris …

Solar Impulse 2 Gets a Jet Escort

Dean Sigler Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Following a fairly non-eventful crossing of the Atlantic, Bertrand Piccard was greeted by a welcoming formation of Casa C-101 Aviojets, Spain’s Patrulla Águila flight demonstration team. After three days and nights in the air, Piccard landed in the Spanish sunrise, also finalizing efforts to establish the International Committee of Clean Technology (ICCT), whose goal is to continue Solar Impulse’s legacy, “promoting concrete energy efficient solutions in order to solve many of the challenges facing society today.” While “Until recently, protecting the environment was expensive and threatened our society’s comfort, mobility and growth. Today, thanks to modern clean technologies, the energy consumption of the world, and therefore the C02 emissions, could be divided by two, while creating jobs and enhancing profits. …

Solar Impulse’s Great Photo Op – and Special Birthday Guest

Dean Sigler Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Saturday night, if you were lucky enough to be wandering the streets of New York City, you would have seen a string of lights slowly crossing the sky above the Statue of Liberty, a stirring sight – especially for those following the over-year-long flight of Solar Impulse 2. Andre’ Borschberg had flown the giant electric airplane from the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania to the night skies over Manhattan, landing finally at John F. Kennedy International Airport.  The airplane will pause briefly before departing on a trans-Atlantic flight to an as-yet undisclosed location in Europe, from which it will make the final leg of the journey, returning to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. “The Statue of Liberty is a …

Vin Fiz and Solar Impulse

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Calbraith Perry Rodgers, the first person to fly across the United States, was deaf from an early childhood disease.  Even though he came from a long line of naval heroes, this handicap kept him from joining the Navy, but didn’t slow his quest for adventure.  He was one of the first to sign up for flying lessons with the Wright Brothers at their home base in Ohio. He was 31 years old when William Randolph Hearst offered a $50,000 prize to the first aviator to fly coast-to-coast in 30 days or less.  Rodgers convinced the Armour Meat Packing Company to sponsor his attempt as a promotion for their new soft drink, Vin Fiz.  As a coincidence, your editor visited the …

A Solar-Algae Hybrid for an Atlantic Crossing

Dean Sigler Batteries, Biofuels, Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Henri Mignet was never quite able to master an airplane with three-axis controls, and built at least seven flawed attempts at simplified controlled flight. His seminal try, the HM-8 Pou de Ciel (literally, Louse of the Sky, or more familiarly, Flying Flea) became first a matter of celebration for amateur aviators and then a cause of scandal, being banned in Britain following a series of fatal crashes. The “formula”, as proponents called Mignet’s tandem wing configuration, was sorted out after wind tunnel tests in England and America uncovered the flaw that caused the craft to pitch down in an unrecoverable dive. (For a well-illustrated history of Mignet’s design, see Henri Mignet and his Flying Fleas by Ken Ellis and Geoff …